As I have gotten older I have realised one of my biggest flaws. In an extrovert world I am an introvert, not only that but I’m shy too.
If you want to get places in life you have t0 overcome one of these things or go for careers that suit these traits. I did not go for a career that suited those traits… wait, actually being an author is perfectly suited for my personality, so is running a blog but both don’t pay. At least I don’t earn anything from both right now.
Shameless plug: check out my book The Chief’s Revenge
The job I went for that wasn’t suited for my personality type is journalism (and every other job I have applied for since).
It was hard to break into journalism because I did not know anyone and I was not pushy enough to push my way in. Add on the fact that I am a woman and black… it makes things a little harder.
My mom always says, if it is a job that is greatly desired by white people it is harder for black people to achieve it. Unfortunately, she has been proven right and not just with me either.
It doesn’t just stop at journalism though. My inability to make connections, to network, has hindered me when applying for jobs.
I have friends who keep in touch with their university professors and such, whilst I never contacted them after graduating. In fact, I never talked to my professors unless it was about school work.
I didn’t realise you need to cultivate those relationships in case you needed references in the future.
I always thought the references came from jobs but so far I’ve worked agency jobs and they are the worst for references (at least the agencies I worked for).
Then I always feel awkward asking for references from certain people twice. What is the etiquette? How many times can you ask for a reference? I have no idea and it causes me such a headache.
Even with being an author being shy can get in the way. I just plugged my book and I should plug it more but I just feel so awkward doing it. A lot of people I know in real life are shocked when they find out I self-published a book because I never mention it. They always find out by accident or rather when they ask me specific questions.
If it wasn’t for my mom, an introvert who is not shy, no one would know (she told everyone she met, she’s good at marketing).
So, don’t be like me. If you’re an introvert or shy, pick a professor that is easy to talk to or a manager who is easy to talk to, befriend them and keep in contact with them. It will make your working life so much easier.
You need at least two references so pick two people.
Also, don’t feel shy about hyping up your own work. Be as shameless as Grammarly. We all know about that company and really they should lay off us because we get the message… but they don’t because they want to make money.
So, have that same attitude with your work and with your craft. You don’t have to be aggressive but talk about it and show it. Let the world see the cool thing you have made or you have done.